Originally posted on NBA 24/7 365  |  Last updated 10/9/12
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When Mike Woodson accepted his first head coaching position in 2004, he inherited an Atlanta Hawks team that had won fewer than 35 games in six consecutive seasons.  Although Woodson’s first year would be the worst in franchise history, the Hawks stuck with him as they retooled via the draft and free agency.  With the likes of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith at his disposal, Woodson watched over an up-and-coming Atlanta squad that won more games than they had the previous year for five consecutive seasons. In 2010, they became a 50-win team for the first time since 1998.


Despite the success, many critics had begun to doubt Woodson’s ability to take the team to the next level.  Having become a perennial doormat to the Conference Finals, the Hawks came under fire for their apparent lack of offensive structure.  With his contract set to expire over the summer of 2010, the Hawks elected to make no attempt at re-signing Woodson.  Instead, they replaced him with Larry Drew and remain the same middling team they’ve been for the better part of a decade.


Even during his falling out with the Hawks, one thing remained consistent: no one questioned Woodson’s ability to inspire his players to defend.  Almost immediately after his departure from Atlanta, the Knicks gave Woodson an assistant coaching position under Mike D’Antoni in hopes that their contrasting focuses would help to produce a successful product.  Unfortunately for D’Antoni, things didn’t go as planned.  After being swept out of the first round in 2011 and experiencing struggles to start 2012, D’Antoni stepped down and was replaced by Woodson on an interim basis.


Under Woodson’s guidance, the Knicks went 18-6 and snapped a 13-game postseason losing streak.  Despite another first-round playoff exit, progress had most certainly made, especially at the defensive end of the floor.  Impressed by the results Woodson produced, the Knicks dropped his interim title and extended his contract in the early part of the offseason.


Presently entering into his first full season as the head coach in New York, Mike Woodson intends to make his Knicks the best defensive team in the league.  A tall order?  Maybe so, but don’t tell that to Mike Woodson.  After all, he did drag an infamous Hawks club out of the cellar.  Watch below as he conducts a practice, preaching defense to all those within earshot.  He cites the tactics of retired veteran Lindsey Hunter, and takes an interesting approach in an attempt to get through to JR Smith…



Set up’s too slow!


F@cking golden.  On a serious note, I love how he put JR on offense in order to make a point that was all about defense.  That’s just brilliant coaching, folks.

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